163 Why collect art?

The deadline for my ad for the Door County Plein Air Festival booklet is at hand. Once again I feel inadequate to describe why potential collectors should buy my paintings. I believe in my artistic project but how do I communicate that passion to collectors?

Via the ad I have an opportunity to connect with potential collectors beyond simply showing paintings at the central venue during the festival. Everyone will get a booklet and a chance to see my ad. It’s an opportunity to tell my story to many people in a way I probably won’t be able to do on an individual basis.

As you can see in the accompanying image I chickened out and let my painting do the talking—although in conjunction with the ad I plan to write a compelling blog entry I hope some will read via the QR code. In the entry I will elaborate my painting philosophy, mention a few prestigious venues where my art has been seen, and add a photo so festival goers will recognize me. But will the QR link make connections not made with the ad?

The inability to effectively connect with buyers is a traditional struggle for artists. Many–including myself—wish for a world where we wouldn’t have to actively sell our work. But in yearning for a different world we miss a salient point—artists must provide compelling reasons to collect our work.

Art is communication and the responsibility for clear communication sits squarely on our shoulders. Yet when it is time to write ad copy for my own ads I’m still at a loss to describe why potential collectors are enriched by buying my paintings. Many assume the sole reasons for purchasing paintings are the visual aspects of the painting itself. But we fail as artists when we can’t communicate why collectors should hang original art on the walls of their homes. Perhaps it’s time to collectively articulate the unspoken, intuitive reasons to collect art.

Brad Teare April 2014

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Updated: 21st September 2020
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